Developer: RSAC Software

Current Version: 1.2

Last Updated: 4 years ago

Download Size: 1.1 MB - Download


The goal of PublishPlot is to quickly create publication quality plots from any text-based table of data. It is developed by a professor and editor for an international journal who wanted to create good plots and was tired of rejecting papers that had ugly plots (especially standard plots created by Microsoft Excel). PublishPlot is ideal for students, teachers, professors, scientists, and engineers. You start with a table of data (such as cells in a spread sheet document or output from custom software) and then copy and paste, or drag and drop, to a PublishPlot window. You will immediately have a high-quality plot. You can customize the initial plot settings in the preferences or customize all features of a plot after it is created. You can add error bars as well as plot annotations such as text labels and arrows. When ready to use a plot, drag it as a PDF to another application or to a file on your desktop.

A unique feature of PublishPlot is that you never set absolute size of plot elements. Instead, all plot features are sized relative to the size of the plot. This approach mimics the way illustrators used to draft plots before using computers. For example, one design rule-of-thumb is to have plot symbols be 1-2% of the plot diagonal. Similarly in PublishPlot, all size settings are done as a percent of the plot diagonal rather than a fixed size. Even when setting font sizes in points, you are really setting a "virtual" font size that gives the actual size for a full-page, landscape-mode plot (i.e., about a 10 inch diagonal plot), but scales it for other plot sizes. This approach is ideal when resizing plots to fit in space provided by your publication needs.

PublishPlot is a scriptable application and can be controlled by writing AppleScript or Python scripts. Those that are developing their own custom software or scripts can use this feature to provide plotting support for those custom tools. PublishPlot has built-in tools for simple data transformations and selected fitting functions. By writing scripts, however, transformations and fits can be developed for any custom needs. PublishPlot lets you plot any basic function of x. Alternative, a script could be developed to plot more complex functions.

You can edit plot data right in PublishPlot, but those features a basic (by design). The intent of PublishPlot is as a post-processing tool for plotting data created in other software, stored in spread sheet documents, or saved in plain text files. This need is common for scientists, engineers, and other academics who might obtain data by a variety of methods. Normally you return to the originating tool to edit the data rather the use the built-in PublishPlot methods.

If you want great plots and you want them fast, PublishPlot might the tool for you.


Release Notes:

This version has added numerous features requested by users. The new features include:
1. Tick marks can be inside, outside or on both sides of axes.
2. Beside just arrows, you can now annotate plots with double-headed arrows, rectangles, ovals, and lines.
3. Symbols, shapes, and plot background can set opacity for their fill colors.
4. All new features are accessible in Apple scripts to create plots.
More details on these features and some other minor enhancements are list in the "What's New" help topic when you open PublishPlot help window.


Most Helpful Reviews

Version 1.0
Review by aimene

It can be very useful - I disagree with David's review and find this app very useful. Actually, as claimed, you can dump in any tab-delimited table (copy and paste or drag and drop) and have an instant plot. In fact the table can be comma separated, white space separated, tab delimited, or any combination of those options. A good working scheme is to keep data in an Excel spreadsheet, and then copy and paste data whenever you want a plot. Note, however, that the table has to be numeric data; perhaps David tried to paste in text labels for a bar chart? Those "commands" at the start of a table are all optional. I skip them if plotting data once, and then customize as needed in PublishPlot using its plot inspector. But, if I will be revising and re-plotting a table often, I insert commands in the rows above the table in the spreadsheet and then a single cut and paste gets a plot in the style I want and much better looking then Excel plots. Editing data is possible by selecting any plot and opening the "Edit" tab in the plot inspector. It is all plain text editing and very basic, which is as stated in the app description. Dates work in any column, but have to be in a format like 4/13/2012, April-13-2012, etc. The problem with dates like "April 13, 2012" or "May 2012" is that spaces and the commas will be misinterpreted as table separators. Categories for bar charts are not supported. This app is aimed at numeric data. Even dates are just converted to numbers (like 2012.3 for April-1-2012). The app description is not clear on this limitation.

Found helpful by 1 out of 1 people
Version 1.0
Review by Davert

Works, but not as easily as claimed - Be careful before you buy this program, cheap though it is; while it is indeed very customizable, it is also rather clunky, and nowhere near as easy as you might think to set up. Commands are not obvious, and I was frankly unable to edit the data once it was in there; putting the table from the example in did not help. The description would lead you to believe you could just dump in, say, a tab-delimited table, but in reality, it must look something like this: #setColor black #setLineWidth 0.200000 #setName sin(x)/x 0 1.0 0.01 0.999983 0.535789 0.952837 1.06158 0.822479 1.58737 0.629887 2.11316 0.405314 This is really a disappointment from me; I thought it would be pretty simple and easy to learn and use, but with the frequency I make tables, I will have to relearn this thing every time I want to use it (after searching for the appropriate Help). I'm not sure it can handle categories, either -- when I try, it tells me I've put in invalid data. Chronological data doesn't seem to be handled well. You can get better software for free.

Found helpful by 1 out of 2 people